New Orleans is renowned for many things – Mardi Gras, the mighty Mississippi River, jazz music and the famous French Quarter – just to name a few. However, it’s the city’s signature fare, and our endless celebration of it, that often garner the most notoriety. Whether rooted in Cajun country, steeped in centuries of Creole tradition, or fixed at the forefront of the restaurant revolution, the depth and breadth of New Orleans’ culinary scene is undeniable.
As a city so food-focused, it’s no surprise that despite our best efforts, we’re also subject to an array of food and beverage trends that emerge each year. Whether it’s “dude food,” craft cocktails, farm-to-table tasting menus or the autumnally anticipated yet incredibly oversaturated pumpkin spice craze, we’ve seen our fair share. Although some culinary fads continue to return every year (looking at you, pumpkin spice), many others are just a flash in the proverbial pan – like bacon-flavored chewing gum.
One trend that’s becoming increasingly popular locally is a menu shift towards customization and shared plates, even among the upper echelon of area restaurants. That’s right – white tablecloths, five stars and fancy wine lists no longer equate to monotonous meals and predictable menus.
After successfully implementing a lunchtime take on the traditional “meat and three” concept, The Grill Room at Windsor Court rolled out an innovative dinner concept last spring. A recent article by NOLA Business Media highlighted the initiative:
The small, shared plates have remained popular for quite some time, bringing diners more options, less commitment to a large plate and more opportunity to socialize and engage during the dining experience. It is safe to say that this trend is here to stay.
Taking that trend up a notch is The Grill Room at The Windsor Court. They have created a new “customizable” menu, which allows the diner to choose options from different categories to create a personalized meal. The categories include field (salad and vegetables), farm (meats), sea (seafood) and sweet (desserts), and can be customized in an order to include 3 – 5 selections for a fixed price. Wine pairing, larger courses and chef tastings can also be arranged, making the experience fully catered to each individual.
Other restaurants in New Orleans that have also embraced the shared dining trend include Emeril Lagasse’s newest local eatery, Meril; Lower Garden District mainstay Coquette; and Public Service at the recently opened NOPSI Hotel.
What restaurant trends are having success in your city? Tweet us @DEVENEYnola using the #DEVchat hashtag.